Recce Squad is a special force unit of the GSU. Their head quarters are located in Ruiru. They operate in a secretive manner and their numbers remains unknown.
Recce Squad History
RECCE Squad training is done in Kenya and abroad. These elite soldiers go through highly regarded military training in countries such as the United Kingdom, Israel and America.
For the team to perform such operations as the one conducted at the Garissa Massacre, the Recce squad trainees attend the basic GSU training school in Embakasi.
Thereafter, those fit for this special unit and emerge as the best in academic and field performance undergo a further 7 month specialized training in VIP protection, handling and detonating explosives, security of vital installations, anti-terrorism, sky marshal (the counter terrorism unit on board commercial flights) and rescue operations.
After completion of the rigorous training, these elite soldiers are deployed in the three different units to provide support to the other field companies of the General Service Unit.
The GSU Recce Company units include the Sky Marshal unit. This is the undercover counter terrorist unit on board commercial flights to counter aircraft hijackings.
The second one is the Crisis Response Team. As the name suggests, this team of elite soldiers is always on stand-by to swing into action incease of an operation which has gone out of hand.
Last but not least is the Rendition Operation team mostly trained in Israel and America.
The group was first known when it conducted one of its major operations in Kenya; during the Westgate attack by the al-Qaeda affiliated group, the Al Shabaab.
Recce Squad High-Tech Equipment And Armor Donned
Bullet Proof vests- this vest protect the wearer from bullet and explosive shells. The vest is worn in the torso and it has the capability to protect the soldier from small caliber guns as well as hand grenade shrapnel. They are well designed and have pockets that the soldiers can carry water and back up ammunition for their rifles.
Knee and Elbow pads – they are protect the soldier from injury and at the same time provide comfort in extreme combat situations that may require a soldier to crawl or come in contact with harsh surface.
Magazine Pouches – a magazine is the ammunition storage while the pouch is the pocket that carries it. They are attached to the vest and vary in sizes the smaller ones carry magazine for pistol while the larger one carry for the rifle
M16 Rifle – a 5.56mm caliber ammunition rifle which is the most common modern warfare rifle seeing as it can either be automatic or semi-automatic. The semi-automatic can fire up to 60 rounds in a minute depending on the user.
Thigh Pistol Holster – this is used to carry an additional pistol that is hoisted at the thigh. It is strategically placed at around the arm-length making it a very convenient weapon for retaliation. The thigh pistol is used as an alternative incase the soldier is in the middle of a cross fire and has little or no time to load his rifle.
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Sunglasses – not to be confused with normal sunglasses. They play as a camouflage to hide the exact direction the soldier is looking. They are an advantage as they throw off the public and what the soldier’s attention is, hence enhancing surveillance and having tactical advantage.
Portable Police Radios – it is attached to the chests or shoulder and have an ear piece attached. They aid in communication as the soldier does not have to hold them in the hand that would otherwise be executing the plan and prevent casualties. It is also the link between the RECCE command and the field.
Bayonet – it is a knife, spear or spike-shaped weapon that is attached to the muzzle of the riffle and is used to attack an enemy at close quarters. It transforms the gun into a very lethal sharp object that can stab an enemy at close-quarter combat.
Recce Squad – RECCE Company Conducted An Airplane Hostage Situation Rescue Drill At Kenya’s JKIA
On 19th May 2015 Recce Squad conducted an Airplane Hostage
Situation Rescue Drill operation at Jomo Kenyatta International
Tuesday morning at around 9 AM, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) was in lockdown. A terror attack was underway causing panic to about 30 travellers who were aboard the KQ plane.
The scene started when the KQ flight headed for Malindi was hijacked by a group of armed terrorist. Immediately the terrorist took over the plane and started making demands, food , refueling of the plane and even demanded the flight to enroute to a destination of their choice which they commanded the flight pilot.
Before the flight could take off, the special officers drawn from the Elite GSU Recce Squad tacticfully swam in counter attacked the terror gangs. The situation was contained and neutralized and with the quick response from the Kenya Red Cross Society, the casualties were swiftly evacuated to various city hospitals in Nairobi.
With rising global activities of terrorism, it important to take caution bearing in mind airports are always very prime locations where terrorists target. Airports are full of activities, tourist, business people and travelers of all walks daily use airport to forgo their business and a slight security hitch can be catastrophic.
Mock terror drills are necessary to test terror and emergency preparedness of airport security at all time. The drill also tests how effective the country security agencies can liaise with the airport security to swiftly neutralize the threat timely and with minimum casualties. How effective other rescue personnel such as the Kenya Red Cross Society can come in and take care of the injured without jeopardizing the hostage rescue operation.
Though this was a mock terror drill on a KQ flight, Kenya Airport Authority (KAA) are obligated to adhere to regulations by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO to conduct such drill operations to assess preparedness and security standards.